Q: Is there a safe way to leave an inheritance to a child with addiction issues?
The past few years have brought an increase in substance abuse and addiction issues to our community. Some families are finding themselves assisting an adult child or other loved one with rehabilitation efforts, financial support, and in some cases, assisting with raising the children of the addicted child or loved one. Families in this type of situation should be re-evaluating their estate plans.
Leaving an inheritance directly to a person suffering from addiction could ultimately cause that person more harm than good. Cash directly in the hands of someone who struggles with addiction and who just suffered the loss of a loved one gives that person the ability to afford more of the abused substance than usual at a time when he or she is most emotionally vulnerable. A direct inheritance could become a death sentence for a struggling addict.
Disinheriting a person struggling with addiction may not be the best option either, nor is it typically what families want to do.
Establishing a trust for the benefit of your child or loved one battling addiction as a part of your estate plan is a great way to support such person without giving him or her direct access to money. Assets in this type of trust can be available to such person through a trustee after you die. The trustee can manage the money and pay such person’s expenses directly, including housing, food, health needs, and general support. Money in a trust could also be used to pay for rehabilitation or treatment programs. Another advantage of a trust is that it allows you to control who the beneficiaries of the trust would be if the trust beneficiary died while the trust was being administered.
Similar options are available for a beneficiary who has mental health issues, is disabled, incapacitated or is otherwise vulnerable.
If a beneficiary of your estate is battling addiction, or if there are other concerns, then you should contact our office so that we can advise you on the best way to leave an inheritance to such child or loved one.
Contact Voelz, Reed, & Mount, LLC in Columbus for more information.